Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Serve : 4

Preparation time : 10 minutes

Cooking time : 10 minutes

A simple but decorative dessert, with large grapes or plums set in jellied plum wine (umeshu). If Japanese plum wine is not available, substiture with any other fortified fruit wine, such as peach or rapsberry.

8 large seedless grapes or small plums
25 g unflavored Japanese gelatin powder

60 ml water
1 small bottle Japanese plum wine (umeshu)

30 g sugar

1 tsp cognac or brandy

8 porcelain teacups or jelly molds


1. Blanch the grapes or plums in hot water for about 10 seconds, drain and put in cold water to chill for a few seconds. Peel, halve and set aside.

2. Stir the gelatin and water in a non-reactive saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved and smooth.
3. Add the plum wine and sugar, stir until the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat, add the cognac and stir.
4. Portion the grapes or plums into the teacups. Pour liquid jelly into the teacups and chill until the jelly sets

japanese - Sweetened Azuki Bean Paste

This bean paste is the most popular in japanese custard. Easy to make and it goes perfectly with dora yaki.

125 g dried azuki beans
100 g sugar
salt to taste

1. Boil the azuki beans in water to cover, then lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until the wrinkles on the bean skin have dissapeared.
2. Drain the beans,and pour in three times as much water as beans and return to a boil. Then simmer over medium-low heat until the beans are very tender.
3. Drain the beans in a colander lined with a dish towel. To further remove excess moisture, gather the ends of the towel and squeeze out the water.
4. Transfer the beans to a blender or food processor and process to a smooth paste.
5. Place the paste in a saucepan, add the sugar and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the paste thickens.
6. Remove the pot from the heat, stir to cool and freeze or store in the refrigerator for not more than a week.


These pancakes is very popular in Japan and sold hot at stalls everywhere and can be found with a variety of fillings, including Western-style custard. Azuki bean is however the traditional favorite. Sweetened azuki bean paste is also known as 'sweetened red bean paste'.

300 g cornstarch
4 tsp sugar
250 ml water
1 egg white, beaten until fluffy
Oil, to grease pan
200 g sweetened Azuki bean paste

1. Sift the cornstarch into a bowl and add the sugar.
2. Stir in the water to make a smooth batter, then fold in the egg white.
3. Heat the frying pan and grease lightly with oil.
4. Drop about 1 1/2 tbsp of the batter into the pan, letting it spread by itself. When tiny bubbles begin to form on the pancake surface, turn over.
5. Fry for 30 seconds, then remove. Make another pancake in the same fashion.
6. Spread 1 heaped tsp of the azuki bean paste onto one pancake and cover with the second pancake. Repeat until all the batter is used up.